Delaware Getting Federal Funds to Fight Addiction - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Getting Federal Funds to Fight Addiction

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DOVER, Del. - Delaware is dedicating millions of dollars to fighting the state's high drug overdose rates.

According to the Division of Public Health, the state will have $250,000 to increase doctor and community education built around the state's addiction resource website HelpisHereDE.com. Additionally, the state will have $371,000 per year for four years focusing on the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs and utilizing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, where doctors can use an online database to see if a patient has a history of addiction before prescribing any drugs. Lastly, the state will have just over $2 million per year for the next two years to increase primary prevention, community based services and education, including that of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. A majority of the money comes from federal funds.

Pauline Powell with Attack Addiction  says resources like this are incredibly necessary to prevent addiction and sometimes fatal drug overdoses, of which there are many in Delaware. According to Delaware Health and Social Services, in 2014, Delaware had the ninth highest rate of deaths from drug overdoses in the country, with an overdose rate of 20.9 deaths per 100,000 people. 

"It oftentimes starts with painkillers in the most innocent way," says Powell.  "They become addicted to the medication, and when the medication is no longer available, they turn to the street to replace the opioids with heroin." 

DHSS and Powell both say another concern is the uptick of fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller that drug dealers are now using to lace cocaine or heroin. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. In 2016, 90 people in Delaware died from fentanyl overdoses, compared to just 42 in all of 2015.

Powell says she sees the state's investment in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as a step in the right direction. 

"It's so sad and so important that doctors understand what prescribing these medications for somebody who has a substance use disorder can do," she says. "It can send them right back into addiction where before that they were in recovery and doing well." 

For more information on drug addiction resources in Delaware, visit www.HelpIsHereDE.com,

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